Are you on the Amazon Profitability Death Spiral? 3 Ways to Get Out

Katie Lavin

November 7, 2023

 3 minute read time
Amazon death spiral

The Amazon Profitability Death Spiral is the race to the bottom. Whether you are deep on the Death Spiral or just flirting with it, you are not alone–it is a simple series of events for all brands.

profitability death spiral

Where you are on the Amazon Profitability Death Spiral?


First, your Amazon ecommerce booms and a bunch of third-party sellers flood Amazon (also true for other ecommerce marketplaces).

This high volume of unauthorized sellers creates competition. The unauthorized sellers lower their prices even more to win the Buy Box. Because the Amazon algorithm favors price (customer-centric mission), you lose the Buy Box (can happen in a 1P or 3P relationship). Then your brick and mortar starts to price match with Amazon, so your retail profits erode because you are hit with concessions, buy back charges, price match guarantees, and more…

It does not stop there.

Your Amazon profits erode and before you know it all channels are less profitable. You find yourself at the bottom of the Death Spiral, unable to make a profit–or as Amazon calls it your product is CRaPed out.

Watch this video to learn more about the Death Spiral

The results of the Death Spiral are painful and erode brand equity, sales, and profitability. The good news is there is a solution.

Three Steps to Get Out of the Profitability Death Spiral

Step 1: Clean Up Your Amazon Sellers aka: Narrow Distribution

Identify the rogue or unauthorized sellers so you can take control of your distribution. This can be manual and very time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Pattern has technology that scans thousands of websites and gives brands visibility into those who are not compliant with their prices.

Then, once you have identified the sellers, you can quickly see which ones are causing the channel conflict and reach out with a eControl law firm like Vorys. As eControl experts, Vorys will know the laws and regulations to help you stop these sellers from causing pricing issues. Once you are done cleaning your channel, and have a proactive strategy in place using both tech and an eControl firm, you can move to Step 2.

Step 2: Achieve Price Stability aka Create MAP Policies

Once you have a clean channel of sellers you want to create MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) policies for sellers on Amazon and all other digital channels.

Through its millions of data points and insights, Pattern helps its brands identify MAP violators who show up to wreak havoc on price and your brand. Setting a MAP policy is necessary for a brand to enforce its pricing strategy and identify rule breakers on Amazon and other ecommerce marketplaces. When a seller is abiding by MAP, it means they are not dropping their prices, so a product’s price will start to stabilize and protect all your channels, even retail.

To help achieve price stability, it is also important to align your promotional strategy across all channels. Otherwise, the promotions can provide ways for sellers to get your inventory and sell if for less later.

After you have aligned your sellers with an enforceable MAP policy, then you can move into the next step, which is being proactive with enforcement and takedowns.

Step 3: Proactive, Data-Driven Enforcement aka Takedowns

Pattern has built technology that scrapes thousands of websites and quickly identifies rogue sellers who are breaking MAP. Our custom software identifies leaky gaps in your distribution, tracks sellers, and monitors historical and real-time pricing across Amazon so you can maintain brand control.

It is important to take a data-driven approach to identify, enforce, and take down sellers who erode your price and profit.

Let’s Get Your Brand Out of the Death Spiral

Pattern helps brands regain control and get out of the Death Spiral. Having approved and legitimate sellers on Amazon sets omni-channel price parity and enforces your MAP policy, so you can win the Buy Box, increase traffic and conversion, and achieve profitability on Amazon and beyond.

Contact Us Today

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